Winners Blog- Miriam Woodburn
"Ten top tips to give your CV a boost!"
by Miriam Woodburn
We all know the importance of a well written and eye catching CV to boost your career prospects and in today’s hyper competitive job market the first impression you give to employers is as crucial as ever. With youth unemployment still on the rise, and the ratio of applicants to career opportunities only becoming more skewed, you should use every trick in the book to make your CV as impressive as possible. Luckily, this is relatively easy and quick to do, if you follow my ten top tips to boost your CV and market yourself to potential employers:
Evaluate your existing CV.
Read through your resume carefully, check for obvious mistakes in grammar, spelling or usage of slang or unprofessional language. It might also help you to ask someone else with more experience to read through your CV, as it’s sometimes hard to spot your own mistakes. Check to see if you have at least something in each of the following categories: skills, education, experience and volunteer work. Don’t panic if you find gaps in your CV, just make a note of which sections need to be improved and what you could do to enhance said section. For example, taking an evening class or volunteering at community centre can significantly improve the quality of your CV as they show you are motivated and hard working.
Doing voluntary work shows potential employers that you are dedicated, reliable and an asset to the community. It also shows that you are caring and generous with your time; these are all qualities that top bosses love!
Experience, experience, experience!
It goes without saying that its best to try and find work experience in the field that you aim to have a career in as it shows that you have basic knowledge and proficiency in the type of environment you’d find yourself in. It also shows that you are unlikely to have unrealistic expectations of what working in your chosen sector would be like. That said; don’t worry if you can’t find a placement in the area that you want to work in, any work experience gives you lots of transferable skills which you can mention in you CV. Employers are interested to know what you learned whilst on your placement and if you held a position of leadership or worked as part of a team. Don’t be too shy to mention these skills in your CV!
Join a club or team.
,/br> Being part of a team or club shows employers that you have good social skills and are interested in using you spare time productively. Don’t forget to mention if you held a position of responsibility in your club e.g. team captain, secretary, treasurer etc.
This is your chance to really show potential employers what you are passionate about and give them a chance to find out what you love to do. Interviewers will often ask you about these so try to make them as memorable and interesting as possible. Just remember to try and keep the information relevant and link it to a transferable skill. For example, if your hobby is reading, then mention the book club you helped set up or how reading has helped you become a better informed person in general.
What prizes or awards have you won?
Have you received an award for a music or essay competition recently? Or maybe you have won a medal or trophy in a sports competition? Schools, colleges and universities often reward their students with awards or prizes in recognition for their good work, so take advantage of this. Include things you have been nominated for as well, as long as it’s recent and relevant!
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice.
Like I mentioned in my first point, asking someone such as a careers advisor or business mentor can to review your CV can be really beneficial. They may point out things you have missed or give you tips on how to phrase and layout your resume.
Don’t make it too ‘funky’.
Remember, you want your potential as an employee to stand out, not your use of wacky fonts or colour schemes. Keep your layout plain and simple with size 12 font in black. You may think, especially if you are going for a job in the art and design field, that a brightly coloured resume will make you stand out. Quite the opposite, this will make you seem childish and immature. Just don’t do it. Ever.
Keep it relevant and up to date.
You can edit your CV as much as you want and I would advise you to reread it every time before sending it to a potential employer. You can tailor your resume to each job description and only list things that you would judge to be relevant (you may need to ask someone for advice on this). Also, use any key words that are used in the job description e.g. a position advertised as a ‘team leader’ type role in a company should prompt you to say that you can ‘empower others’ or have ‘team spirit’. Maybe even list the qualities you have that make you think you’re a good leader (diplomatic, love working with others, good judgement etc.). You get the picture!
Work hard to better yourself and CV.
Even if you find yourself going long periods of time without work, stay motivated and stay active. This means doing things such as volunteer work, work experience or fundraising for a charity instead of staying at home all day. Employers will notice if you have long gaps between work placements and activities and this will reflect badly on you. Remember, employers appreciate that it is hard to find work in this climate but laziness is never excusable. Do something useful with your time!
I hope you can use my tips to your advantage and good luck in your quest for a career!
Miriam got this blog published through a challenge he entered on the MyKindaCrowd website. If you want to get published too, why not enter? Just click here to learn more
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MyKindaCrowd work with top employers like RBS, McDonalds, Cisco and KPMG. Together they set challenges and offer the winner prizes, like work experience or placements. MyKindaCrowd have won the UK's most prestigious Social Enterprise awards; UnLtd 'Big Venture Challenge' and BiTC Olympic Legacy 'Arc' award.
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